Brett Smith

Cintas Chair in Entrepreneurship & Founding Director, Center for Social Entrepreneurship & Professor



Academic Background

  • Ph.D. University of Cincinnati, 2007
  • M.B.A. Georgia State University, 1999
  • B.S. Miami University, Business, 1991

Academic & Professional Experience

  • Cintas Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship, 2018-Present
  • Founding Research Director, L.I.F.E. Research Lab, 2018-Present
  • Founding Director, Center for Social Entrepreneurship, 2006-Present
  • Professor of Entrepreneurship, 2015-Present
  • Director, Institute for Entrepreneurship, 2011-2018
  • Endres Associate Professor Fellow, 2014-2015
  • Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, 2011-2015
  • Visiting Professor, EM Lyon School of Business, Lyon, France, Spring 2009
  • Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, 2006-2011
  • Heavenly Dough, LLC, 1999-Present
  • Research Associate, University of Cincinnati, 2003-2006
  • Visiting Instructor, Miami University, 2001-2003
  • Director, Sales & Business Development,, 2000-2001
  • Chep International, 1991-2000

Recent Publications

  • Smith, B., Lawson, A., Jones, J., Holcomb, T. & Minnich, A. (2022). Trying to serve two masters is easy, compared to three: Identity multiplicity work by Christian impact investors. Journal of Business Ethics, 179: 1053-1070.
  • Smith, B., Cardon, M. & McMullen, J. (2021). Toward a theological turn of entrepreneurship: How religion could enable transformative research in our field. Journal of Business Venturing, 36.
  • Smith, B., Bergman, B. & Kreiner, G. (2021). When the beacon goes dark: Legitimacy repair work by subsequent entrants in an emerging market category. Journal of Business Venturing, 36.
  • Smith, B. & Bergman, B. (2020). The other side of the coin: Investor identity and its role in resource provision. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 14: e00175/10.1016/j.jbvi.2020.e00175
  • Giudici, A., Combs, J., Cannatelli, B. & Smith, B. (2020). Successful scaling in social franchising: The case of Impact Hub. Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 44: 288-314.
  • Smith, B., Knapp, J. & Cannatelli, B. (2020). Entrepreneurship at the Base-of-the-Pyramid: The moderating role of person-facilitator fit and poverty alleviation. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship.
  • Smith, B., Conger, M., McMullen, J., & Neubert, M. (2019). Why believe? The promise of research on the role of religion in entrepreneurial action. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 11.
  • Barbosa, S., Fayolle, A., & Smith, B. (2019). Biased and overconfident, unbiased but going for it: Framing and anchoring effects on the decision to start a new venture. Journal of Business Venturing, 34: 528-557.
  • Cannatelli, B., Smith, B., & Sydow, A. (2019). Entrepreneurship in the controversial economy: Toward a research agenda. Journal of Business Ethics, 155: 837-851.
  • Cannatelli, B., Smith, B., Giudici, A., Jones, J. & Conger, M. (2017). An expanded model of distributed leadership in organizational knowledge creation in social entrepreneurship. Long Range Planning, 50: 582-602.
  • Knapp, J., Smith, B. & Sprinkle, T. (2017). Is it the job or the support? The relative importance of job characteristics and perceived organizational support for nonprofit employee retention and satisfaction. Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 46: 652-671.
  • Kistruck, G., Lount, R., Smith, B., Bergman, B., & Moss, T. (2016). Cooperation vs. competition: Alternative goal structures for motivating groups in a resource scarce environment. Academy of Management Journal, 59: 1174-1198.
  • Smith, B., Kistruck, G. & Cannatelli, B. (2016). The impact of moral intensity and desire for control on scaling decisions in social entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics, 133: 677-689.
  • Kreiner, G., Sheep, M., Hollensbe, E., Smith, B. & Niyati, K. (2015). Elasticity and the dialectic tensions of organizational identity: How can we hold together while we're pulling apart? Academy of Management Journal, 58: 981-1011.

Honors & Awards

  • FSB Senior Faculty Research Excellence Award, 2019
  • Assigned Research Appointment, 2018
  • Research Grant: Embedding a Social Accelerator in the Ecosystem, 2017 FSB Summer Research Appointment, Miami University [$6,000]
  • Schulze Award for Outstanding Teaching & Education Publication, 2016 Entrepreneurship & Innovation Exchange [$1,500 scholarship]
  • U.S. State Department Grant, Institute on Social Entrepreneurship, 2015 Funding provided to develop institute for 35 Afghanistan Fulbright scholars to study social entrepreneurship and creativity [$103,000]
  • Schulze Award for Outstanding Theory & Research Publication, 2015 Entrepreneurship & Innovation Exchange [$5,000 scholarship]

Areas of Expertise

  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Scaling of social impact
  • Development Models at Base of the Pyramid


Brett R. Smith, Ph.D. is the Cintas Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship, Founding Director, Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and Founding Research Director, Leading the Integration of Faith & Entrepreneurship (L.I.F.E.) Research Lab at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His research interests focus on social and faith-based entrepreneurship. His research has been featured in leading academic journals including Academy of Management Journal, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Venturing, Leadership Quarterly, and Long Range Planning. Smith serves as on the editorial board for the Journal of Business Venturing and as an Associate Editor, Journal of Social Entrepreneurship.

Smith has won several international awards including the GCEC Award for Best Social Entrepreneurship Program and two Ashoka U Innovation Awards. He has received $500,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of State to host seminars on social entrepreneurship for Fulbright students from around the world and has been invited to speak at the United Nations, Nelson Mandela Foundation, Tedx Youth, and a number of leading universities. His work has been highlighted in Time, Business Week, Financial Times, CNN, MSNBC and 100 other media outlets.

Smith is a co-founder and advisory board member for Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub and a member of the Board of Directors of OCEAN Programs, a faith-based technology accelerator.


Brett Smith

Contact Information


* Accessible version of PDF available upon request.